Call for greater support for women who care for grandkids

On International Women's Day, National Seniors is highlighting the need for more support for older women who give up work to care for their grandchildren.  

National Seniors research shows grandmothers are sacrificing their own incomes so their daughters and daughters-in-law can return to the labour force, which often has a financial impact on their retirement savings.  

"As we already know, it's often women who take on the caring needs for their spouses, parents, children and grandkids over their lifetime,'' chief executive Michael O'Neill said.  

"Just as broken work patterns impact the super balances of younger women, they also affect the retirement savings of women who are leaving the workforce early to care for grandkids."  

Evidence shows the single most important factor supporting female workforce participation is affordable childcare.  

"A lack of childcare places forces older women to disengage from the workforce or work part-time when their preference might be otherwise," O'Neill said.  

"Many of these women are also carrying the burden of care for elderly dependants at the expense of their own financial security."  

O'Neill said compensating grandparents who provided childcare was an important policy area for government.  

"This will ensure that women can participate in the workforce and accrue adequate superannuation balances," he said.  

O'Neill said other issues affecting older women included the disparity between men's and women's superannuation balances, fairer tax treatment for women who make up the greatest proportion of low income workers and the adequacy of the age pension especially for those women who are renting.  

In 2014, 837,000 children were cared for by grandparents in a typical week (ABS), which is far more than any other form of day care.  

International Women's Day is a global day celebrated on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.


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